Re: What is a theory? LO3731

Andrew Moreno (
Wed, 15 Nov 1995 20:31:45 -0800 (PST)

Replying to LO3721 --

On Mon, 13 Nov 1995, Michael McMaster wrote:

> The validation of a theory can *only* be evaluated separately from
> the process that produces it - in my operational definition. The
> validation of a theory is pragmatic.

Current scientific testing tries to remove the person from the process. I
don't think that's possible. Validation will depend on the people using
the theory. This leads to limitations in the theory's use.

> Does it produce better results
> than its alternatives?

I'm not sure if this is the crux of the matter.

> to as his physics and of the physics of others "It is a likely
> story".

I think this is part of the crux of the matter. A story is likely if it
builds on a groups previous assumptions about their environment. A theory
is not an island onto itself. It is a small part of an intricate web.
Whether or not a theory is validated or not depends on if it is supported
by the groups previous assumptions or "consensual hallucination."

In a nutshell, I think the differences in uses of theories by different
groups drives the synthesis of new theories. Unfortunately, if all the
groups have the same use for a theory, then synthesis stagnates.

Andrew Moreno <>